Letitia Perry-O’Farrow was 43 in July 2010 when she elected to undergo bariatric surgery. But a procedure to protect her against life-threatening blood clots before she underwent surgery is blamed for her suffering serious complications.
Prior to undergoing the weight loss surgery, Perry-O’Farrow was implanted with a Cook Celect IVC filter. The tiny cage-like device is implanted into the inferior vena cava (IVC), a large vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the lower extremities to the heart. The device is intended to catch blood clots from the lower part of the body before they reach the heart and lungs, where they can lead to heart attack or pulmonary embolism.
In August 2010, a month after receiving the implant, Perry-O’Farrow underwent a procedure to remove the IVC filter. However, the filter was found tilted to the left and embedded in her inferior vena cava, making it impossible for doctors to snare and remove the filter. At that time, they noticed damage to the filter legs.
In July 2013, Perry-O’Farrow underwent a CT scan, during which doctors found the limbs of the IVC filter extending into the right renal vein and a fragment of the filter outside the inferior vena cava. To this day, the fractured strut of the IVC filter remains in Perry-O’Farrow.
Cook Medical faces more than 3,600 lawsuits in federal and state courts. Hundreds of similar lawsuits have been filed against the makers of other IVC filters, including C.R. Bard. The lawsuits allege that both Cook Medical and Bard knowingly marketed defective IVC filters and did not warn doctors of patients of the serious dangers with the devices, which include filter migration and fragmentation, embolization and organ perforations.
Source: U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana